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In Memory of Don Hill

June 18, 1945 - March 21, 2023

Donald Kinsley Hill of San Antonio, Texas, beloved husband of Pastor Kristine Franke Hill, died on March 21, 2023, and entered the fulfillment of his baptism. Born in New York, New York, on June 18, 1945, Don was the only child of Chester and Mildred Eddy Hill. He grew up in Montvale, New Jersey and graduated from Pascack Valley High School in 1963, before attending GettysburgCollege, The University of Houston, and Catawba Valley Community College in Conover, North Carolina, from which he earned an Associate Degree in Horticulture.


In 1963, Don left college to hitch-hike to Selma, Alabama, although he arrived a few days too late for the march across the Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. Throughout his life he was passionate about equality, justice, and freedom for all peoples, whatever their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.


During the mid and late 1960s, Don hitch-hiked across the country working odd jobs, including at a potato factory, a turkey factory, on ranches in Wyoming, on the wharves in San Francisco, and on shrimp boats in Kemah, Texas. Later he traveled the world as a merchant marine, going to India, Africa, and Antarctica among other places. He assisted crop-dusting airplanes in Winnie, Texas, before moving to Houston where he tended bar at Zims on Montrose Boulevard, then worked in wine sales, drove a cab, and was a supervisor at The Bookstop in a former theater on Alabama Street. In Hickory, North Carolina, he worked at Barnes and Noble before going into landscaping. He worked at Viva books in San Antonio, and briefly as a gardener at The Alamo.


Don loved animals and nature. He was an excellent writer, and an avid reader of biography, history, contemplative theology, psychology, philosophy, poetry, and literature. One of his dreams was to open an independent bookstore where people would gather to discuss ideas, drink coffee or wine, and read and buy interesting books. He loved music and enjoyed singing in church choirs, as well as with the Beethoven Maennerchor and with Sacra Musica both in San Antonio, and in Hickory, North Carolina with the Catawba Valley Community Chorus. 


Don is survived by his loving wife, Kristine Franke Hill, her mother, her sisters and brothers, her nieces and nephews and their families, by many friends, and by his dearly loved church communities at Shepherd King Lutheran in San Antonio and Mt. Zion Lutheran in Conover, North Carolina.


A memorial service will be held at Shepherd King Lutheran Church, 303 West Ramsey Road, on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at 1pm, Pastor Caleb Jeffers presiding and Pastor Thomas Robison preaching. Burial services are provided by The Neptune Society.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the general memorial fund or the mission endowment fund at Shepherd King Lutheran Church.

We remember Don’s family in our prayers and trust that the promise of the Resurrection is true and sure.

In Christ,

Bishop Sue Briner